Album Review: Versus The World - 'Drink. Sing. Live. Love.'

16 July 2012 | 12:45 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A perfect fusion of pop punk and post-hardcore elements.

When California punk band Versus The World reunited in 2010, with the addition of Lagwagon’s Chris Flippin on guitar, I couldn’t help but be curiously excited. Two years later – and seven years on from the release of their self-titled debut – the band finally has a new album for us. Versus The World marry post-hardcore and pop punk on their sophomore album, Drink. Sing. Live. Love., with the same success of their 2005 offering. While Drink. Sing. Live. Love. covers heartbreak, loss and how fucked the kids are, the record manages to come across as overwhelmingly positive.

She Sang The Blues’ is an ideal opening track, commanding attention with powerful guitars and a characteristically catchy chorus. ‘Mason Grace’ maintains the same upbeat energy, with the pain of love lost evident in Donald Spence’s passionate vocals.

The hyper-catchy ‘A Fond Farewell’ will instantly get stuck in your head, its life-affirming vitality cementing it as an album highlight. ‘These Bones’ is another noteworthy track on Drink. Sing. Live. Love., despite its uncanny resemblance to Silverchair’s ‘Without You’. Having made the comparison though, I have to wonder if it's just me hearing those similarities... it’s just me, isn’t it?

The Kids Are Fucked’ accurately depicts a hopeless youth, with thrashing guitars and pounding drums complementing lyrics about "privileged little parasites". It’s hard to not be affected when Spence sings, "I can’t be the only one who’s sick to death of the monsters we’ve become," with such fraught force.

Although ‘A Love Song for Amsterdam’ sustains Versus The World’s trademark infectious sound, it does lose momentum. ‘Crooks and Liars’, all about following through, will swiftly recapture you with heartfelt vocals on a backdrop of strategically sinuous guitar riffs.

Donald Spence trudges through the somewhat self-indulgent mortality-focused ‘In Fear of Finale’, sounding beaten down by the song’s end. The hard-hitting introduction of ‘Donner Pass’ promptly rectifies any harm done by the previous track, and its effective deviation towards a heavier tone makes it a high point.

Drink. Sing. Live. Love. is a more proficient effort from Versus The World. The band seamlessly weaves between post-hardcore and pop punk; each track slotting in perfectly to add to the record’s overall landscape. Versus The World have picked up right where they left off in 2005 to provide a slick collection of transmissibly optimistic tunes.

1. She Sang The Blues
2. Mason Grace
3. A Fond Farewell
4. The Kids Are Fucked
5. Lullabye
6. These Bones
7. A Love Song For Amsterdam
8. Crook & Liars
9. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou
10. In Fear of Finale
11. Donner Pass
12. Angry February
13. We Were Alive